The scheme would use a combination of technologies:
Solar panels, both floating and mounted on an energy centre, would provide much of the electricity to power water sourced heat pumps.
Heat pumps would extract heat from water taken from abandoned flooded mines and the River Tyne, converting it into energy in the form of hot water. This hot water would be used to heat buildings in a network of insulated pipes.
Gas produced from wood and green waste would also be converted into 100 percent renewable fuel for the energy centre.
Although the overall scheme is still in the development phase, the Council has already been successful in attracting over £4million Government funding for initial enabling works, which include the drilling of boreholes to extract the minewater.
Timescales and progress
Planning permission has been given for the first phase of the project, which is now underway.
From July 2021 to Spring 2022:
Drilling began in July 2021.
Two 750 millimetre diameter boreholes will be drilled into the ground to a depth of over 280 metres
Pumps will be installed underground to extract water from abandoned flooded mines
Wells will be constructed
Mine water will be tested
It is expected that the overall project will be completed in 2024/2025 (subject to funding and planning).
Heavy machinery and drilling equipment is in use.
There will be an increase in noise levels during the drilling.
Our contractor has measures in place to minimise the impact of this for those living nearby.
The drilling works have been planned according to health and safety regulations.
Regular updates will be posted on the site notice board.
Following the drilling works, and subject to funding and planning permission, Phase 2 will see the development of an energy centre and pipe distribution network.
Overall, the scheme is likely to combine:
a river source heat pump
a mine water heat pump
a combined heat and power (CHP) back-up system
a private wire electrical network with storage battery
wood gasification plant
Comments and complaints
If you have any questions about the works call the Customer Contact Centre on 0191 427 7000.